"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Lesson In Plant Reproduction

Oh, No!!! Cover the children's eyes! Marigold is talking about reproduction, for goats' sake!!! Fear not, dear friends, it is not at all what it seems, and I assure you, rated quite 'G' (suitable for Goats and other Generally superior audiences.)

You see, plants have a variety of ways to spread themselves around, as it were. You know, 'be fruitful and multiply'...that sort of thing. Some plants, like our infamous dandelions, produce a puffy little gathering of seeds that, when caught by the wind, scatter hither and yon, setting forth and establishing new and multitudinous generations of giant Pacific Northwest monsters. Simply put, they fly off to boldly go where no leviathan dandelion has gone before.

Then there are those plants who bear their seeds in an enticing little package, tempting feeble-minded and unsuspecting souls (like Pine Siskins, Douglas squirrels and those stupid mice in the barn) to eat them, digest, and later disperse their 'wares' all over the place. (Usually right on some nice blade of grass I was considering for breakfast.) Examples of this would be the ever-present Blackberry (in all its many forms from 'Trailing' to 'Himalayan'), Black-Cap Raspberries, Salmon Berries, Thimble Berries, or even plain old Apples, Cherries, Plums or Pears. This seems to be a popular route for many plants - sort of the 'Smith' of seed dispersal. Well, I suppose, in order to be a complete success, it is a good idea to involve the masses from time to time.

But then, there are some plants that like to live on the edge. They prefer to create little 'barby' seeds (no, not the doll) that lie in wait for some unsuspecting, inattentive, self-possessed and furry little creature to saunter by, brush up against them (or go crashing through, as the case may be...) and become hopelessly entangled.. Later, when the animal cleans itself, the seeds are pulled out and re-located into some other prime real estate district, free to carry on.

Enter Cabra. What you see below is the ultimate in seed dispersal systems. I assure you, the previous owner of the seeds you see embedded here promptly contacted every plant in its address book and broadcasted the whereabouts of the boundless opportunity at hand. Cabra, always one to be helpful, obliged accordingly. Of course the goatmother was forced to intervene, which involved a bath and a blowdryer, all of which had absolutely no effect. Finally, a comb had to be laboriously applied to the uncooperative little hitchhikers, while the goatfather gathered them up as they fell to prevent further infiltration.

Sad isn't it? Here, allow me to show you a close-up view. Oy. I mean OY.

Now this would never happen to a goat. In the first place, a goat would never even consider going into some of the places the Cabrarator goes. And second, a goat would simply rub off any 'Klingons' foolish enough to try hitching a ride. Isn't that what trees and fencing are for? Still, I suppose when you are a frou-frou farm dog possessing super-heroic quantities of detritus magnetism and a Phyllis-Dillerian, coat of cotton, this sort of thing is bound to occur. Perhaps this is one way in which Cabra can define herself as she grows. After all, "Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices." ~ Shana Alexander. A tangle indeed. I guess the plants already know who she is.

4 comments:

Kathryn and Ari said...

Oh, my goodness. When you throw a canine into the realm of plant sex, the results are never good. Still, you have to hand it to the little caninaturalist: he's certainly embracing nature!

goatfarmer said...

MARIGOLD! Where are you? Get back to your BLOG!

Marigold said...

Crunch...crunch...mpflmph...'K. Mmph...munch...grass is s'good...crunch.

goatfarmer said...

PEANUT! Get Marigold back to work!